Financial Status of Our Co-op and Call to Action

*Originally emailed to membership on 3/5/17

As a part of our commitment to keeping you better informed, we would like to give you a status report on the financial health of our coop. It is perhaps the greatest challenge facing us right now.  The coop is doing very well with respect to increasing sales and revenue, however we are trying to get over one major hurdle:  In October, the board discovered that it had not been informed of significant cost overruns for the build-out of the coop, in excess of $300,000.  In addition, the board also discovered that numerous invoices had not been properly input into the coop's accounting software, and therefore were not appearing on the profit and loss and balance sheets. Of course, financial hurdles are common to startups, but this was a significant revelation that came at a time when the coop, like most start-up coops, was very vulnerable.  Board members and management have been working diligently trying to overcome this unexpected difficulty.  There is no doubt that this was serious blow to our financial health and one that is going to take all of us to fix.  

We have been working with our lenders to obtain extensions and new amortization schedules for coop debt to give us extra breathing room, and have also worked with vendors to obtain payment plans for some of our significant accounts payable that were discovered several months ago, and which the coop has not yet been able to pay down.  The current account payable amount is approximately $175,000.  While these numbers sound significant, and they are, our sales are equally significant.  Recent weekly sales were at $68,000, and are projected to increase to $70,000.  Although we are not yet making significant profits with these sales, they are on track with projections for a start-up cooperative such as ours.  We are also planning a campaign to bring in new members in the very new future. More details will be coming soon.

Presently, the most helpful thing our members can do is to help us increase these sales, and thereby increase our revenue.  Small things, such as meeting someone for lunch at the coop, planning meals for a month and buying all your groceries at the coop, and encouraging your friends and family to become members or just shop at the coop can help significantly if we all put in that effort. We are aware that there are still a number of people in the community who haven't had a chance to visit the store yet, so encouraging friends and family to check out all that the store has to offer could particularly make a big difference.

We continue to dedicate ourselves to the future of your coop, and we are doing our best to make it a place you are all proud to call your own.

In cooperative solidarity,

Your Bisman Community Food Coop Board of Directors